"The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them." Mark 10:13-15, The Message
After over a year with C.S. Lewis (Screwtape and Mere Christianity) my brain was pretty much overwhelmed. In addition, my pastor has been bringing us some great stuff as the walked us through the Lord's Prayer and several other topics. But it was in my small home group that the thought struck me last week. Have we over-complicated things to such a degree that we miss the simplicity of who God is, what he does and how he reveals himself to us? In our quest to build theologies and codify answers and such ... is it really far more simple than any of us could (or perhaps want to) believe? I had to answer myself with a resounding "yes". And that drove me back to this simple recording of how Jesus viewed children.
It's found in three Gospel accounts, but the one here in Mark really stood out. Across multiple translations, the tone of Jesus' response comes out clearly. He is not pleased at the bums' rush his crew is giving the children these mothers have brought for a blessing. And he uses this moment to offer what ought to be some of the most profound doctrine any of us should ever consider. Yet it's so simple that we gloss over it and leave it for the children's Sunday School class instead. And in doing so, I think we miss the true heart of God.
The Creator of everything is rebuking his disciples for their failure to understand the inherent worth of children and their approach to life. They aren't living in the past and they aren't fretting over the future. They are content with the "now" and that particular now meant seeing Rabbi Jesus and, perhaps, sitting on his lap. If I envision God this way, I have to wonder how impressed he really is with all my knowledge and posturing as opposed to me coming to him with the wonder of a child. How much does God really want me to "vision cast" instead of resting secure in the knowledge that he provides my daily bread? I'm thinking he longs for us to come as children - and that's exactly what this passage means.
As I travel the Crooked Path, I need to open my eyes, mind and heart to the wonder of "now" and embrace freely the God who gives it. I need to trust in the present (Peter has something to say about that) and stop trying to figure it all out. I need to come and jump into the lap of the Almighty - knowing full well that it will make him laugh and he will embrace me with his massive, redemptive arms of love. I need to quit worrying about the complex and get back to the simple.